Closing in on Tiger

By Michael CollinsFebruary 28, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's note: Michael Collins has been a stand-up comedian for 15 years and has more than seven years experience as a professional caddie. He currently covers the PGA TOUR as a correspondent with XM Satellite Radio and takes his turn on The Turn Mondays on GOLF CHANNEL.
 
The No. 1 player in the world dropped the hammer in Tucson at the Match Play again. Were you surprised? Me neither, but I did see something that was a little bit encouraging by a couple of his opponents.
 
First there was J.B. Holmes, who was 3 up with five to play. At some point before the 14th hole J.B. had to look at the scoreboard and think to himself, I got him! Three holes later hes looking at the scoreboard going, What the hell just happened? I cant feel my butt, is it still there? Why is Tiger smiling shaking my hand? What the hell just happened?
 
Aaron Baddeley impressed me even more. Remember the opening hole of the U.S. Open last year? I do. Badds was paired with The One and had a two-shot lead on him. A triple bogey later and hes walking to the second tee box thinking to himself, I hope theres pudding in clubhouse for dinner because I just got my teeth knocked out. But there he was Saturday taking Tiger to extra holes. Not only that, he had a couple chances to take Tiger out! Now before you start calling him any names, you should know that even Tiger said ALL of Arrons putts were extremely difficult and not really makeable.
 
My point is this: guys are getting closer. Please dont start e-mailing me yet; let me finish. We are in a time in golf weve never been in before. The more I think about it and talk to older players the more of a realization I have come to. See, back when Jack was the man, guys playing against him started the week thinking they were gonna win. I mean they knew Jack would probably be there near the top at the end but they all BELIEVED they could win. Not now. Guys believe when Tiger is around that they cant win. You wanna know why Jack had so many second place finishes, you wanna know why Jack says Tiger plays a different game, well there it is.
 
Jack used to walk down the driving range and listen for which guys were complaining about stuff (weather, rough, greens) and he would count them out for the week. Tiger walks down the driving range and guys stop hitting balls. I dont know why. Its not like they stop and stare at him, but if you watch closely you can see the pause. But, thats starting to change.
 
Now I know why Tiger doesnt play as much as we (fans, media, etc.) want. Because when he shows up at a tournament he is completely prepared, which is a bit harder than we all think, and more importantly hes hungry. For the field, the less he plays the more his aura grows. Guys think to themselves, Im out here busting my butt to get a win and this guy just shows up and dominates. Ive got no chance. See, if Tiger played every week hed start grinding too and getting beat A LOT more. It just happens; thats what guys do; its a golfers nature: Tinker, tinker, tinker -- What happened to my game?! The thing is: guys are getting closer to believing they can take him every now and then.
 
Its almost like the first fight between Tyson and Holyfield. First couple rounds you could see the fear in Holyfields eyes. Thinking to himself, I might die tonight. Then by the 5th round, Hey, Im gonna LIVE!!! Then by the 8th, He aint so bad. Then in the 10th, IM GONNA KNOCK THIS FOOL OUT!
 
Were in the 5th round with Tiger now and I think guys are just starting to think, Im gonna live! I might not win, but Ill live. Couple more years and we MIGHT see someone punch the bully square in the face. Problem is this bully wont back down.
 
Im finally back on the East Coast, so I know exactly when all my TV shows are on, dont have to get up three hours early to go on the air, get nice warm mornings. OK, that last thing is bull. Its 44 degrees this morning in Fla., and I am gonna complain again!
 
If your town is ever having a drought or a heat spell just invite the PGA TOUR to come for a week. We guarantee rain and cool temps in your town. And to all my Canadian friends who e-mail me about the weather they play in: Get Tiger Woods 08 and a Wii, then tell me how often youre gonna go back outside with your clubs when its nasty. I know, Im an idiot and a wuss. And I love yall too!
 
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”